Police say BX rabbi gets hate e-mail after leading protest against 'Passion' movie

(02/29/04) RIVERDALE - Controversy surrounding Mel Gibson's new movie The Passion of the Christ could be hitting home in the Bronx. Police say a Riverdale rabbi protesting the movie may now be the target of hate crimes.

Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale says he received several hate-filled e-mails after protesting against the film. The rabbi led a protest on opening day of the movie, Ash Wednesday, outside the Loews 84th Street Theater on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Rabbi Weiss says the e-mails are clear examples of exactly what he was protesting.

Members of the NYPD hate crimes task force are investigating the incident. Cops say depending on what the district attorney decides, people found guilty of hate crimes by sending e-mails could be fined or sent to jail.

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